December 21, 2016

Sharing experiences

Chambers ends his devotional thoughts for today with this: “Be ruthless with yourself if you are given to talking about the experiences you have had. Faith that is sure of itself is not faith; faith that is sure of God is the only faith there is.”

He reasons that reality is based only on what God does through redemption. Anything else is not worth my attention. That is, “my experiences are not worth anything unless they keep me at the Source, Jesus Christ.”

It seems to me that my experiences have value only as a bridge. By this I mean that what God has done in my life might help someone else understand that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (This is a definition of faith; see Hebrews 12:6.) If not, then I’ve no other reason to share them.

The bridge idea is helpful for the simple reason that the Spirit of God can use a story to reveal things about God to minds who have not yet understood . . .

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:9–14)

This year has been filled with experiences that God so obviously engineered. He brought an ‘angel’ to our aid in an airport when my husband needed a wheel chair, and an ambulance the next day when he was in dire condition (see posts for mid-January). He answered prayers, comforted sorrows, took care of family needs, forgave sins, gave unexpected joys, and kept my heart at times when I wanted to quit Him.

God gave us many opportunities to tell others about His hand in our lives. With some who struggle we shared that we are praying for them. Some of those acknowledged that positive changes were happening because of prayer, even though they don’t yet know God.

Chambers is right though — about being ruthless about sharing experiences. It is easy to fall into a ‘look at me’ motivation, even a cocky attitude that “God loves everyone but He loves me the most” because of all His blessings. He is teaching me to be quiet unless He nudges me to speak. Not every experience of mine is useful to Him in the awakening of hearts. My words are just noise unless the Spirit of God wants them heard so He can use them to magnify Christ. These are hard lessons!

Chambers asks, “Is Jesus Christ Lord of your experiences, or do you try to lord it over Him? Is any experience dearer to you than your Lord? He must be Lord over you, and you must not pay attention to any experience over which He is not Lord.”

Dear Jesus, keep teaching me to listen to you before I share with others, and consider your purposes when You prompt me to share something. Rather than trying to put a spotlight on myself, please enable me to lift up Jesus so that others are drawn to Him.

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